@ etaletc - Re: AC @ 12:49 - Google vs Microsoft
etaletc wrote :- "MS big contribtuion was a general operating system that was not tied to proprietary hardware........ you have to acknowledge that [MS] operating systems which were compatible with such a wide range of equipment was key in shaping the market... Much easier if you control the hardware and write the OS for that equipment."
CP/M was a general OS too, and UNIX has already been mentioned. In the period we are discussing, MS was tied to the Intel x86 processor (no hardware competition there for many years), and other than the processor, generic keyboard, 80x25 monitor, and disk drive they did not "write the OS for the equipment". Makers of printers, network cards, video cards , and even mice had to wrote their own drivers for DOS and Windows. Having got to a dominant position, MS only needed to lean back and let them do it.
That happened back then because the HW makers and (especially) the PC press picked MS almost at random as the horse to back - once some had picked it, the others had to follow even with misgivings. They could just as well have picked CP/M 86 [www.landley.net/history/mirror/cpm/history.html].
The price is a red herring. The personal computer revolution was happening MS or not, and with mass adoption prices would have tumbled anyway. In fact it shocks me how HIGH Microsoft have managed to maintain their prices considering their vast sales volumes.